Before we get into some of the dust containment systems for conveyors and practices you should be considering, it’s worth spending some time discussing why this is important and what hazards could arise should a solution not be handled properly.
Conveyor dust control: The hazards of dust on work sites
Dust has the true potential to be a health, safety, and mechanical issue. Workers who breathe in airborne dust could become sick or develop conditions long-term from repeated inhalation. Some dust can pose a fire hazard, and ignite and explode in certain conditions. With worksite equipment like conveyors, dust can be a real issue. Not only can excessive dust indicate a material loss, but it can also work its way into components, electronics, and equipment, damaging them or reducing their effectiveness or efficiency.
What’s more is that dust can blow when it becomes airborne, so these issues can be far-reaching when it comes to job site systems.
Impact of high-quality dust containment systems
The ideal dust containment system on a conveyor works to pull airborne dust out of the air and return it to the material stream or minimize the buildup of dust to prevent health and safety issues, as well as equipment malfunction.
Reduced dust also directly leads to more streamlined productivity, as workers will spend less time cleaning and repairing equipment and more time processing product.
Finally, less dust also helps a work site stay in compliance with environmental legislation, especially in more regulated areas.
We’ll take a look at some of the best dust containment systems and practices in the next section.
Conveyor dust control & prevention
Dust can lead to mechanical damage and increased maintenance on conveyors in a variety of ways, but perhaps the biggest problem that operators and site managers have to deal with is carryback.
Carryback occurs when dust or small particles bind to the belt, eventually leading to conveyor downtime, and excess mechanical wear and tear — each of which have the potential to reduce profits, increase overhead costs and lead to frustration on sites.
Aside from carryback, general dust accumulation tends to be a problem. The hotspots on a conveyor line that are typically subject to excessive levels of accumulation are usually the tail section, chute, skirting and the belt.
The good news is that there are ways to control and manage dust accumulation and carryback.
Proper sizing of the chute
Transfer chutes are important parts of the overall makeup of a conveyor system, as they work to facilitate material flow from one part of it to another.
But, when multiple chutes are required, things become more complicated. A failure to take various factors into consideration, such as size and it could lead to a greater likelihood of material spillage.
Proper chute sizing is one of the easiest ways to prevent spillage and subsequent dust accumulation.
Lining the AR plate
Another ideal way to minimize dust buildup is to make sure that the AR plate is lined.
The best lining materials are hard ones, like ceramic or hard steel, that offer impact resistance. Chutes regularly handle heavy materials, so lining the AR plate is important to maintain a viable material flow stream.
Lining the chute with rubber
While this tip may not directly lead to less dust accumulation, we’d suggest lining the chute with rubber to help deaden the noise of material transfer.
Enclosed skirt system
A skirting system that’s too loose has a tendency to result in product spillage and more dust accumulation. On a similar note, an enclosed skirting system is generally the recommended model, as it can help minimize airborne dust.
Skirting should be regularly monitored and adjusted as necessary to ensure it stays in good working condition on the conveyor itself.
For instance, skirting that’s too loose can contribute to more product spillage, while skirting that’s too tight can cause increased conveyor belt wear and tear.
Carryback material scrapers
We already noted how carryback is one of the biggest issues that operators have to manage on a conveyor, and that’s where scrapers come into play.
As the name implies, scrapers work to remove excess material so that it does not stick to the belt and recirculate throughout the system. Scrapers are an efficient means to manage material carryback and dust buildup.
High-quality dust containment systems for conveyors
Failure to take these conveyor dust control factors into consideration doesn’t just have the potential to lead to productivity issues and increased conveyor line maintenance, but health and safety risks as well.
West River Conveyors welcomes the opportunity to help make sure you’re investing in the right dust containment systems. Visit us at www.westriverconveyors.com to learn more about the dust containment systems that we can design and build.